Corporates must engage supply chains on renewable energy to really make a difference

This week we have launched our latest report, Renewable Energy in the Supply Chain, in conjunction with the Carbon Trust and CDP. David Cockshott, Chief Commercial Officer, shares his views on why companies need to do more to drive renewable energy through the supply chain.

I am encouraged to see high-profile organisations taking the lead on addressing climate change and carbon reduction. Just last week, CDP announced that 89% of the companies asked to report emissions by them have set carbon reduction targets.

Undoubtedly one of the most tangible ways to demonstrate carbon reduction (other than using less) is choosing to be powered by renewable energy. Some of the world’s best-known brands buy 100% renewables across their operations and have made a public declaration of that commitment through initiatives like the RE100, currently at 111 brands globally.

Progress is clearly being made but is commitment to renewable electricity really at the level it should be? As a supplier to leading brands and second-tier suppliers, we see a significant gap between what the top sustainable brands are doing and the rest of the business world.

We believe more can be done by large corporates to encourage renewables and efficiency down through their supply chains, which would amplify their own carbon reduction efforts and drive wider decarbonisation of our energy system.

This is the focus of our latest report, Renewable Energy in the Supply Chain, which brings together our own research from a survey and roundtable event, with expert viewpoints from the Carbon Trust and CDP.

The report acknowledges the logistical challenges associated with tackling supply chain issues and offers some simple steps to help companies start the process.

There is a strong hypothesis that simply asking whether a business uses renewable electricity will drive adoption. Just picture the emissions reductions when we move from hundreds of companies to thousands of companies buying and reporting renewable electricity.

The effectiveness of this challenge can be seen in the form of recent updates to the Modern Slavery Act. Reporting requirements enshrined in law enabled businesses to go both up and down supply chains to ensure compliance.

Should renewable electricity be the same? UK carbon reduction targets are legally binding so could there be simple consistent metrics available to allow true transparency, comparability and therefore challenge across renewable electricity?

That is the approach we are taking with our independently certified renewable electricity which comes with an annual Energy Label.

We hope our new report encourages further discussion around how companies can turn rhetoric into action on renewables and play their crucial role in accelerating decarbonisation.

> Download the report